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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Week 7

Week 7

Last weekend was tough, not going to lie, Alabama showed up at Kyle Field and thought that’s all they had to do to win the game, just arrive and it was all theirs. Those ambitious Aggies had a different scenario in mind, and, by-golly they went after it. After playing two games in a row where it looked like they hadn’t progressed past High School skill level ball, all of sudden A&M were world class athletes and could do no wrong! Meanwhile the Crimson Tide couldn’t do anything right, and it didn’t look like they wanted to, until late in the third quarter. A field goal to end the game gave Texas A&M, and The Daughter, a victory to remember for a lifetime. In other games, Penn State was moving up in the polls, and then in the second half against Iowa, QB Sean Clifford didn’t return to the field, he was on the sidelines in street clothes, and that pretty much took all the spark out of Penn State’s offensive, which cost them the game as the Hawkeyes took full advantage and mounted a spirited comeback to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Texas, bless their hearts, came out the gates and scored 28 points in the first quarter against Oklahoma! Not only that, but the Horns appeared unstoppable, and they pretty much were, at least against Oklahoma Saturday. Meanwhile, Lincoln Riley pulled QB Rattler from the game, and inserted Caleb Williams. This led to a resurgent of the Sooner offense, and, for the second straight year, OU overcame a big deficit and took the Golden Cowboy Hat. Brutal loss for Texas, outstanding win for Oklahoma, and bad news for QB Rattler. So, Georgia, who handily defeated Auburn at Jordan-Hare, believe it or not, is now the undisputed King of the Hill, with Iowa, Cincinnati, and Oklahoma nipping at their heels. This is very interesting, very interesting indeed.

 Ole Miss vs Tennessee – If there is a game where popcorn is going to be needed, this is the one. The Josh Heupel era has begun in Knoxville and the Vol fans are as giddy as little school girls. The offense has taken it up a few notches now that Hendon Hooker has been installed as QB1. They are completing 75% of their passes, which, for UT, is fantastic. The “O” is now ranked third in the SEC, where it just means more, and they’ve got a winning record at mid-season for the first time in a decade. The defense has also improved, they may not be a brick wall, but they’re making a pretty good chain-link fence and that has been enough against Bowling Green, Tennessee Tech, Missouri and South Carolina. None of those opponents have winning records. So, before everyone grabs their bright orange jumpsuits to join the bandwagon, let’s see what they can do against a team that does have a winning record. The Volunteers team have improved and are playing far better than they were last year, or the year before, or the year before that, or the….oh, to heck with it, Tennessee hasn’t been playing this well since the 90’s, but they’ve got to win against the upper crust teams before they can be considered for movement out of the basement.

Ole Miss – is all offense;- if the offense stalls, trips, messes up, or is not in sync, then the Rebels lose. Against Alabama, they couldn’t get it all together, they did a lot of good things to be sure, but they couldn’t do what they wanted. Most of that has to do with the way Alabama’s defense played in that game, not the way they played against A&M, but playing like the Tide defenses of old. QB Matt Corral is still in the Heisman race and that is because he’s thrown for over 1,500 yards, 12 TD’s and no picks. That’s impressive. The Rebs’ offense is ranked third nationally as they are averaging over 550 yards per game. When the offense is playing that well, it doesn’t matter too much if the defense isn’t that good, but the defense of UM is pretty good, too, – not great, but alright. Against Arkansas, if they would have been just a little bit better, they would have kept that game from being a nail biter.

What will happen –  there is going to be a lot, A LOT, of scoring. Neither team is going to stonewall the other, so expect the offensives to run wild, because they are going to. This will be another game that comes down to the last minutes of the fourth quarter. The Rebels’ defense is better than the Vols, and if they can just get two, maybe three, stops that should be enough to win. No matter what UT does, they are probably not going to stop the Mississippi offense.

Pitt vs VA Tech –  There is something about the Hokies that is hard to figure out. They started off the year by whipping North Carolina, from which, in all honesty, the Tar Heels have yet to recover. VA Tech then took on WVU, and, in the process, looked pedestrian at best. They played terribly in that game. Then they had Notre Dame at home, at night, and right where they wanted them. What did they do? They jumped all over the Irish, got two interceptions, and, right when it looked like they had this game in the bag, they let the Irish come back and win it. The Hokies didn’t convert on plays when it mattered, which might have put the game away. When they had ND against the ropes, they let up….WHY?! Don’t know, can’t figure them out. The offense is good, but they haven’t gotten over 400 yards in any games. They don’t commit penalties, second in the nation behind Army for the fewest penalties, they don’t turn the ball over, so what is it? I don’t know, and I don’t think the Turkeys know, either. Against Pitt they better figure this out, and quickly.

Pitt- is starting to believe that they are good, and not just kind-of good, no, they are starting to believe that they are real life contenders for the ACC crown, and they might be right. QB Kenny Pickett is in the Heisman race, (which hasn’t happened since Dan Mario was Pitt’s QB). He is averaging over 10 yards per completed pass, with 19 TD’s and only one pick. He ranks second in quarterback efficiency, which is one spot above Alabama’s Bryce Young. But the Panthers are not just about passing, they also have RB Israel Abanikanda, and, when he is handed the ball, he is averaging 4.3 yards per carry. But he’s just their leading ball-carrier. Pitt loves to rotate backs throughout the game, and they mainly use three different backs;- Vincent Davis, Rodney Hammond, and Abanikanda all get plenty of chances. The Offense has yet to score less than 41 points in a game. The defense is not that bad, maybe they didn’t do well against Western Michigan, but, right now, they are first in the nation for sacks and stops on third downs.

What will happen – VA Tech has to figure out what they are all about. They have the makings of a good team, but then they’re not. Versus Pitt, it is not the time to be questioning, or doubting. The defense of the Gobblers is not going to stop the Pitt offense. The Pitt defense will get stops on the Hokies. Some are saying that this will be a close game up until the fourth quarter, but those people are trying to sell tickets to the game, too. That is not how this will go down. The Panthers are going to stomp VA Tech into the ground and make a statement win. Won’t be pretty, expect for those rooting for Pitt.  

BYU vs Baylor – The Bears are sitting at 5-1, but they don’t seem that good. Their one big win was beating Iowa State, who everyone thought would win the Big 12 that only has ten teams title. In their last game they took down a West “by Golly” Virginia in a convincing fashion, so the question is, “Could this Baylor team be for real?’ Here’s the answer;- nobody knows. Maybe their defense has been solid, they hold teams on third downs, and they are getting far more turnovers they have in the past. HC Dave Aranda is a defensive coach, he has always had good defenses, and it makes sense that this is where he has directed his attention. So far, this effort is bearing fruit. The Bears hold up against the run game fairly well and they have the best pass defense in the league. All they have to do now is to have the offense perform with no mistakes, no turnovers, because the Cougars make their living off of turnovers.

BYU – The Cougars were right up there with Cincinnati as a non-power five conference team that might make the playoffs. Then they played against Boise State, and, well, the wheels fell off. For a team that prides itself on getting turnovers and not committing same, they reversed the script and gave up four turnovers and received none. Down go the Cougs. Their passing game is strong with QB Jaren Hall throwing for over 300 yards per game, and their defense has held up until they were out on the field all game long against Boise. So, here’s the same question, “are the Cougars for real?” One sure thought they were, but after last week, one doubts.

What will happen – BYU wants to run the ball and wear down that Aranda defense. They pass the ball well, and that should keep the Bears on their heels IF they can establish their ground game. Baylor wants their defense on and off the field in four downs, they must stay fresh, they’re not built for withstanding long drives. Case in point was Oklahoma State. They also must not turn the ball over, for, if they do, the Utah pumas will pounce. This could end up being an interesting game to watch. They’re both 5-1, and they each need just one more win to become bowl eligible. I think they each have their sights set higher. My cousin, Carol Robin, will be pulling for her Bears with all her heart, and, since this game is at home, in the Texas heat, that should give The Bears of the Brazos an edge. It’ll be close and could come down the fourth quarter, but Baylor pulls out the win.

Short Smokes

Clemson usually doesn’t have any problems with Syracuse, but it wasn’t that long ago when the Orange took them down.

UCF has to win, they need the win, but Cincinnati is on a mission and the Bearcats will not denied.

Michigan State is the turn around team of the year, Indiana was the turn around team last year, MSU continues their run.

Texas should not have lost last week, but they did. Oklahoma State doesn’t need to lose, but they don’t play well on the road. The Pokes should still manage the win.

Auburn played far better against UGA then expected, Arkansas darn near took down Ole Miss, so this could end up being the most interesting game of the day.

Florida can’t afford to drop another game, if LSU loses again HC Orgeron might finish the season unemployed

Texas A&M is riding high after beating Alabama, but can they keep it up against Missouri? Even if they weren’t riding high, they should still beat the Tigers.

Nebraska for a little while looked like they were going to beat Michigan,  Minnesota is barely keeping their rowboat afloat, much less rowing it. Pick ‘em.

Kentucky beat Florida and LSU, so will Georgia be their third big victim? NO, no way, Bulldogs like being number one

Iowa looks to derail the Boilermakers of Purdue, and it’s at home, so Hawkeyes will notch another scalp.

Miami is in trouble, as in, a lot of trouble, North Carolina is not in as much trouble, so the Tarheels win

Arizona is looking for their first win and they might get it against Colorado

Vanderbilt thinks they’ll get the upper hand against South Carolina,  but they won’t

Mississippi State is in a bad spot, they get Alabama after the Tide lost, an if, and that’s a BIG IF, Bama is upset about being dethroned, it won’t be pretty. However, this edition of the Crimson Tide might not be mad at all.

Oklahoma pulled off a miracle coming back against Texas, they better not be suffering a hangover because TCU would love nothing more than to hand the Sooners their first loss.

NC State vs Boston College will be a knock-down, drag-out game, we’re picking the Wolfpack

Iowa State vs K-State The Wildcats are better than their record and they want to prove it, and they just might against the Cyclones.

Army looks to add to Wisconsin’s misery, and they will! Go Army, Beat Navy!

UCLA walks all over Washington

Boise State shoots down the Air Force Falcons

Arizona State will have a tough time against Utah, but the SunDevils still win and stay on top of the PAC-12 South

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